Cultivating Spiritual Intimacy
When two people – destined for each other, come together, there is often an incredible amount of combustibility. Combustion occurs when two or more substances react chemically together, resulting in the giving off of heat and light; often called burning. In the same manner, two people joined together by God can spiritually set each other on fire.
However, after being married a while that sense of combustibility can easily be lost if the spiritual life of the marriage is not cultivated. But, a couple that intentionally, and actively engages in maintaining the spiritual life of the marriage continues to be a strength one to another, and ignites new sparks that blazes through every area of marriage and family. I believe that through personal devotion, mutual support, joint devotions, spiritual dialogue, and spiritual activities, a Christian couple can maintain spiritual intimacy in their marriage.
First, each spouse must keep their fire burning. Each partner keeps their fire burning by maintaining a growing and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus, through personal prayer and Bible study. When we first got married, my wife and I mistakenly thought we could depend on each other’s spiritual life for our personal growth. I thought to myself “my wife is such a great Christian, she will be able to help me solve my spiritual struggles”. The mistake we made was instead of pursuing the Lord for our personal growth, we began to depend on each other. Eventually instead of helping, we began to drain each other. What we learned is that we must maintain intimacy with the Lord in order to have true spiritual intimacy with each other.
Once our personal lives are burning with spiritual fire, then we can conduct that heat to our partners. If you have ever touched a hot pot, then you understand what a conductor is. Metal pots are good conductors because they transmit the heat coming from the stove. The person whose spiritual life is hot and on fire can conduct that spiritual strength to their partner.
To be spiritual heat conductors we must intercede for our mates in prayer, and support them with our encouragement. An effective intercessor believes God for the success of their partner. Exercising faith in prayer for your partner is crucial. Why? Well, we know more than anyone else the strengths and weaknesses of our partners. We see their faults, joys, and sadness. Thus, not only do we have the opportunity to intimately intercede in faith for them, but also our encouragement means a lot to them. Essentially, we must be our partner’s own spiritual cheerleader – fanning the flames.
In addition to the above, a Christian couple spreads the spiritual flames through joint spiritual habits. The most obvious of these is having scheduled devotions. In devotions couples pray and share biblical truths with each other in an open and transparent way. I recommend not only having a scheduled time of devotion, but also allowing that time to develop into a natural habit. In our experience, my wife and I, have found it best not to allow our scheduled time to become a rigid formality; instead, it serves as a training time for the natural flow of our spiritual connection. So that in times of difficulty praying and sharing together will be as simple as breathing.
A natural outflow of a joint spiritual life is spiritual dialogue. Although often neglected, spiritual dialogue is an important part of spreading the flames of spiritual intimacy. I define spiritual dialogue as qualitative and interactive conversation concerning our application, thoughts, feelings, and conclusions on spiritual matters as it relates to our life and society. Put simply, it is enjoyably talking about how spiritual things affect our life and the world around us.
Spiritual dialogue is qualitative and interactive. It is more than surface talk, such as “Pastor preached a good sermon today”. It involves sharing our deep spiritual thoughts to each other, such as “this is how I’m going to apply the sermon to my daily life..”, or “the Lord showed me weakness in that area”. Remember to interact, and allow each other ample time to share insights and thoughts.
Going to spiritual events together provides opportunities for spiritual dialogue. Sometimes we can make religious activities such a duty that we drain all the joy out of it. Couples, however, can enjoy spiritual activities together. The spiritual activities couples can share together goes beyond the regular Sunday services, and weekly conferences. Volunteering to work side by side in a Christian ministry, and working together on Christian projects are good activities to share together.
Along with that, today there are Christian movies and television programs that you can watch. Many Christian organizations today are making Christian videos more than ever. Perhaps you and your mate can buy a video, and watch it together, then discuss it afterwards. Simply enjoy your joint spiritual life; you are heirs together of God’s promise.